PM sees key role for US in resolving Kashmir dispute

By Zahid Hameedi

ISLAMABAD, (APP): Underscoring a key role the United States can play on Kashmir; Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif hopes to see proactive engagement by the new Trump administration to help resolve the long-running dispute between Pakistan and India, which is the biggest impediment to peace in the South Asian region. With regard to Kashmir, America can play a very critical role, which it has not done, the prime minister said, adding that the whole world, including the United States, was well aware of the danger the dispute posed to world peace and to the stability in the region.

“We wish to see progress towards the resolution of the Kashmir dispute, which is the biggest hurdle in the way of peace and development in the region and the whole world, including the United States, is fully aware of this reality,” the prime minister said in an exclusive interview with APP here at the Prime Minister House.

President Trump during his election campaign had expressed his desire to help address the issue of peace and security in South Asia, aspirations that were later echoed by his Vice President Mike Pence, and more recently by the US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, who stated earlier this month that the Trump administration was concerned about the relationship between India and Pakistan.

Ms Haley even suggested that President Trump may also participate in the process of de-escalating tension between India and Pakistan. Pakistan says it has always welcomed offers of mediation made by various countries to help resolve the outstanding issue of Jammu and Kashmir. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, referring to the resolutions of the UN Security Council on Kashmir, observed that the Security Council  must ensure to implement its resolutions as failure to do so was already raising many questions about its credibility.

On Pakistan-US relations, he said that the two countries had a long history of bilateral relations and expressed the hope that under President Trump, the multifaceted ties between the two countries would further improve.

“We want trade not aid from the United States,” the Prime Minister said and added that Pakistan wished to have cordial relations with all countries, including the United States, on the basis of mutual respect. He said that as a result of wide-ranging economic reforms and lucrative incentives offered by the present government, Pakistan had become an ideal destination for foreign investment. He said that companies from around the world have evinced keen interest in various sectors and those foreign companies already doing business in the country were making good returns on their investment.

Referring to the mega projects being implanted under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, the Prime Minister said that CPEC had huge potential to propel and generate economic activities in the entire  region and Pakistan would welcome other countries to be part of it and  share the benefits the multi-billion investment offered. He also urged the American companies to take benefit of the new opportunities and make investment in Pakistan, whose investment-friendly climate offers win-win situation for all.

The Prime Minister said that his government was working on a one-point agenda of ensuring prosperity and progress for the country and welfare of the common man. “Our entire focus is achieving this one-point agenda.” He, however, regretted that certain elements, which have their own axe to grind, did not want the government to succeed in its efforts to improve the plight of the poor and were trying to create all sorts of hurdles in its way. “However, by the Grace of Almighty Allah, the entire nation is with us and we will not only overcome these hurdles but will accelerate our journey on the road to development and prosperity,” he resolved. The Prime Minister termed the overseas Pakistanis a major asset to the nation and appealed to them play their due role for the welfare of  their motherland and help the government in its efforts to take the  country to new heights.

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